Just wanted to warn you that instead of doing the usual, I'm writing this Babet and Prosper with multiple POVs, not all from Babet's point of view. So here goes:
A Nice, Quiet Town
Eric Collins had it bad. After the fifth person disappeared in their small town in Mississippi, the sheriff asked people to stick together, to avoid going places by themselves. “If a witch couldn’t defend herself, neither can you. There’s safety in numbers,” the sheriff pointed out. “If you don’t have to go somewhere after sunset, don’t. Stay home. Every person has been taken when it’s dark outside.”
All that was well and good, but Chastity had called five minutes ago, and her husband and three of his buddies were going to the bar to drink and play pool. Dear hubby wouldn’t be home until after midnight, and she’d be alone all of that time, time that she could spend between the sheets with him. On top of that, he was out of cigarettes and he’d just finished his last beer. What good was a Friday night if you couldn’t enjoy yourself?
His car was in the attached garage, so he could get in it and leave without stepping foot outside. He’d lock his car doors and close the garage door when he pulled out, so that if someone was lurking in the shadows, he should still be safe. He’d stop at the gas station on the corner in town. It was always busy, so he could grab his cigs and beer with plenty of people around.
Chastity’s house proved more of a problem. She lived on a side street in town in a narrow, two-story with a long drive. Eric had liked that long, dark drive because he could park his car deep in the shadows where neighbors wouldn’t notice it. Chastity’s husband ran a welding business out of their oversized, double garage. The man was a beast, more brawn than brains, and if he found out that Eric was visiting his wife while he went out with the guys, Eric would be lucky if he could walk after the brute was finished with him.
After he stopped at the gas station and pulled onto the gravel that wound past Chastity’s house to the garage in the back, he kept his car’s headlights on longer than usual. He peered into shadows, tried to scout out any places a killer might hide. No one had heard anything when the people disappeared, so the sheriff thought the killer might threaten his victims with a knife instead of a gun. If that were the case, Eric would fight with him rather than get in his vehicle and let him drive him who knows where. Whoever was behind this must take off with them, right? Or where did they go? No one had found their bodies.
Eric reached under his front seat and gripped the heavy baseball bat he kept there in case of emergencies. Then he jammed a pack of cigarettes into his shirt pocket, opened his car door, and ran to Chastity’s back steps. She opened the door the minute he reached the top one and they slammed it behind them. The lock clicked, and she looked up at him with a smile. She threw her arms around his neck, crushing her lips to his.
Chastity was a passionate woman, not especially pretty and not overly bright, but she loved sex. She grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the stairs. That’s what he liked about her. No chit-chat. No false pretensions of love. Just strip and screw and keep screwing until time ran out.
Three hours later, she’d drained him. They went to the kitchen, made bologna sandwiches, and wolfed them down before he had to leave. She headed upstairs to collapse back into bed—to sleep this time—before he let himself out of the house.
A dog barked a block away, an incessant noise. Another dog barked two houses down the street. Did they smell something? Did they see someone hovering in the shadows?
A full moon shone in a cloudless sky. He gripped his bat and scoped out his surroundings. Too many buildings and fences. Fear skittered down his spine. Other than the dogs, the night was silent.
The temperature still hovered in the eighties, and the humidity made it feel like you were breathing underwater. Summers in Mississippi. Too freaking hot, but he’d grown up here, had a decent job, and meant to stay.
He couldn’t hide on the porch step forever. When the pool hall closed and the bar shut down, Chastity’s husband would come home. Eric squared his shoulders, grabbed the bat with both hands, and sprinted toward his car.
He didn’t see any movements, hear any footsteps approaching. He’d made it halfway to his car when his foot hit the dirt, and the dirt crumbled beneath him. What the hell? He threw up a hand to stop himself from falling, and the bat balanced on two lips of earth, jerking his fall to a stop.
His shoulders felt like someone had yanked them out of their sockets. He twisted his body to look down into a gaping hole. Where the hell had that come from? And then he saw two bright, glowing eyes looking up at him. Oh, shit. The thing sprang toward him and sharp teeth gleamed in the moonlight. He pushed upward on the bat with all his might and scrambled onto Chastity’s back lawn.
What the hell lurked down there? He sprinted to his car, dove inside, and locked his doors. He should call the sheriff, get some back up, but how could he explain why was here, leaving Chastity’s house when her husband wasn’t home?
No one had ever accused him of being a hero. He put his car in reverse and backed out of the drive. He’d call Chastity and tell her a monster was hiding in tunnels under her yard once he got home. He stopped at the stop sign at the corner and said another thank you prayer when her husband’s truck turned and passed him. He’d pushed his luck this time. Chastity hadn’t expected Hubs home so soon.
A car creeped through the intersection in front of him, weaving back and forth over the street’s center line. Eric waited for it to pass. Someone had had a little too much to drink. He watched it until it turned into a drive a block and a half away. Good, the driver had made it home and could sleep it off.
He was just turning toward town when he heard a horrible, high-pitched scream. Oh, shit. Surely the monster hadn’t stayed at the bottom of that hole? Chastity’s husband would be walking toward his house right now.
Eric stepped on the gas and got out of the neighborhood as fast as he could. It was too late to help anyone, and if he stayed, it would only bring him grief. When he got home, after his garage door opened to invite him inside, he shut and locked everything as quickly as possible. From now on, when he left his house, he’d never leave a cement surface. But then, with Chastity’s husband gone, he wouldn’t have to. He could park on the gravel drive and leap onto the front sidewalk to hurry to the house’s front porch. Chastity would be even more ready for action and he could stay longer. The neighbors could say what they wanted.